NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) 20060013263: TRMM On-Orbit Performance Reassessed After Control Change
Publication date 2006-01-01
Topics NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS), TRMM SATELLITE, ATTITUDE CONTROL, ACCURACY, ATTITUDE (INCLINATION), GYROSCOPES, EPHEMERIDES, ERROR SIGNALS, MAGNETOMETERS, CALIBRATING, SOLAR SENSORS, Bilanow, Stephen,
The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) spacecraft, a joint mission between the U.S. and Japan, launched onboard an H-I1 rocket on November 27, 1997, and transitioned in August, 2001, from an average operating altitude of 350 kilometers to 402.5 kilometers. Due to problems using the Earth Sensor Assembly (ESA) at the higher altitude, TRMM switched to a backup attitude control mode. Prior to the orbit boost TRMM controlled pitch and roll to the local vertical using ESA measurements while using gyro data to propagate yaw attitude between yaw updates from the Sun sensors. After the orbit boost, a Kalman filter used 3-axis gyro data with Sun sensor and magnetometers to estimate onboard attitude. While originally intended to meet a degraded attitude accuracy of 0.7 degrees, the new control mode met the original 0.2 degree attitude accuracy requirement after improving onboard ephemeris prediction and adjusting the magnetometer calibration onboard. Independent roll attitude checks using a science instrument, the Precipitation Radar (PR) which was built in Japan, provided a novel insight into the pointing performance. The PR data helped identify the pointing errors after the orbit boost, track the performance improvements, and show subtle effects from ephemeris errors and gyro bias errors. It also helped identify average bias trends throughout the mission. Roll errors tracked by the PR from sample orbits pre-boost and post-boost are shown in Figure 1. Prior to the orbit boost, the largest attitude errors were due to occasional interference in the ESA. These errors were sometime larger than 0.2 degrees in pitch and roll, but usually less, as estimated from a comprehensive review of the attitude excursions using gyro data. Sudden jumps in the onboard roll show up as spikes in the reported attitude since the control responds within tens of seconds to null the pointing error. The PR estimated roll tracks well with an estimate of the roll history propagated using gyro data. After the orbit boost, the attitude errors shown by the PR roll have a smooth sine-wave type signal because of the way that attitude errors propagate with the use of gyro data. Yaw errors couple at orbit period to roll with 1/4 orbit lag. By tracking the amplitude, phase, and bias of the sinusoidal PR roll error signal, it was shown that the average pitch rotation axis tends to be offset from orbit normal in a direction perpendicular to the Sun direction, as shown in Figure 2 for a 200 day period following the orbit boost. This is a result of the higher accuracy and stability of the Sun sensor measurements relative to the magnetometer measurements used in the Kalman filter. In November, 2001 a magnetometer calibration adjustment was uploaded which improved the pointing performance, keeping the roll and yaw amplitudes within about 0.1 degrees.
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